HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – The elections for Evansville’s City Council are fast approaching, and in Ward 1, Ben Trockman is seeking reelection against Joshua Edwards.
Trockman answered a wide range of questions, and his responses are included below:
The Ford Center is only about a decade old, but officials say it already needs millions of dollars in repairs to remain up to date. The current administration says selling streets is one way to pay for it. Do support the upgrades, and what are your thoughts about “selling streets” to pay for municipal projects?
“I’m on city council now that approved that project and appropriation of that bond. Upon doing a little bit of research, it seems the leasing of streets is a common practice in other municipalities. After learning a little more of what was going to be done, I was a little more comfortable. We’ve got to take care of the important infrastructure and the important amenities for our community, and the Ford Center is one of those. I was in favor of that lease agreement upon learning a lot more.”
Roberts Park was Mayor Winnecke’s pet project, but his vision never really got off the ground due to pushback and funding concerns from the city council. There is a Master Plan for the area. Would you support spending city funds to move this project forward?
“Absolutely. I would love to continue supporting Roberts Park. I think it has potential for a really good project. That said, I think we need to take care of our own parks first, maintenance of our own parks. I think we could do both, and we should always be dreaming for better green spaces for our community, and one of those examples is Roberts Park.”
Many say the city’s parks are in poor shape. What kind of shape do you believe city parks are in, and what would you do to make them better?
“I would agree with the assessment that our parks need some love. There’s a number of them that are in good shape, but there is a number that aren’t. I think our priority must be putting more funds into our park maintenance fund, so we can upgrade and better upkeep our parks. I definitely think there is room for improvement.”
Should the city replace Hartke Pool?
“There has certainly been upgrades, and I know pools are vital for families in our community. We definitely need to consider how we can continue bringing great amenities like a quality Hartke Pool to the community.”
Each time there is a proposed utility fee increase, some residents say they just cannot afford to pay more. Should the city set aside more funds to help people pay their water & sewer bills? If so, where would you get the money, and what criteria would you use for assistance?
“There certainty needs to be a plan in place to help individuals with utilities. We’re seeing utilities skyrocket from CenterPoint bills to Evansville Water and Sewer. Currently there is a program in place through the American Rescue Plan where individuals can get at least $100 a year to help with their payments, but we need more. We need to keep finding creative ways to help individuals that are in need.”
Does the Evansville Police Department have enough tools and resources to properly do its job? If not, what do they need that they don’t have, and what would you do to make sure the EPD has what it needs to do its job?
“I think the EPD does a great job currently in our community. They are always present in community events. They do the best with the tools they have. I have not heard a multitude of things that EPD needs. We talked about more training, and I think that would be an excellent start. I don’t have any specific items I know of that EPD needs, but I’m definitely ready to fight for whatever it is they may need to do their jobs better.”
Some of the most controversial votes a city council representative makes are on rezonings. What criteria will you use in casting zoning votes to make sure the city can progress while making sure the rights of homeowners are protected?
I think following the recommendations of our Area Planning Commission. There is a book of zoning codes and regulations for what we do. I do think it is incredibly important for us to make good decisions when it comes to rezonings. Those are the decisions that have given me the most heartburn because we’ve got to represent our neighbors and friends and protect them from unwanted developments. I would work in conjunction with Area Planning Commission to make sure the right steps are taken.
Are there portions of the city budget you believe need to be cut? If so, what?
“I think with a new administration coming in, we need to do a full analysis of our budget to see where we stand, so I can’t say if I have an idea right now where we should cut those funds from or move to. I certainly feel we need more money for public safety and our infrastructure, but I would wait to see a full analysis that would be done by a third party that could help us determine where we could do better.”
What other priorities will you have as a member of City Council and are there any specific issues you hope to address?
“I think improving quality of life overall by adding more bicycle lanes or paving more streets or adding more sidewalks or taking care of our parks. I think it’s the basic things that I want to continue fighting for in our community, and I hope the next four years have the opportunity to continue fighting for quality of life and place items.”
Multiple attempts to reach Joshua Edwards by Eyewitness News were unsuccessful.